The Best Reel Mowers

Americans have rediscovered "old-fashioned" reel lawn mowers. In part due to the green revolution, reel mowers are replacing gasoline-powered rotary mowers. Homeowners with small yards are realizing that a lightweight, maneuverable reel mower will give their lawn a manicured look, while reducing noise and air pollution and improving the condition of the lawn.

American 16-Inch Bent Reel Mower For Bermuda and Zoysia, Model 1705-16

Most reel mowers are unable to clip the "bent" grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia. Reel mowers work by cutting the tips of the grass blades that fall between the blades and the cutter bar, usually the "upright" grasses. The American Model 1705-16 was designed to cut even bent types of grasses. The reel has seven blades for quicker cutting action; many mowers in this price range have only five blades. It cuts a 16-inch-wide swath, weighs 27 pounds and has large 10-inch composite wheels with terrain gripping treads. The wheels can be adjusted into three positions. The cutting height is adjustable from 1/2 inch to 2 1/4 inches. If you have a backyard putting green, this mower will keep it trimmed and cut your lawn as well. The hand grip is the flared handle design, cushioned for comfort. The January 2010 price for this mower is about $150.

Scotts 20-Inch Classic Reel Mower, Model 2000-20

At 20 inches, the cutting width of this reel mower is the same as many gasoline-powered mowers. The extra cutting width allows you to cut a large yard in record time. Even with the extra width, this mower weighs only 30 pounds. It has quick-snap type cutting height adjustments so you can easily keep the blades level. Nine different settings give this mower a cutting height range from one to three inches. The traction-tread composite wheels are 10 inches, with six inch tracking wheels behind the mower for stability. This mower has a sturdy five-blade reel that is covered with a welded hood so you can mow under shrubs and plants without catching them in the top of the blades. The handle on this model is the easy-grip loop design, cushioned for comfort. This Scotts model costs about $200 as of January 2010.

Silent Cut 21, Model 45-0252

The Silent Cut 21 reel mower is a supreme, heavy-duty mower designed to cut all types of upright and bent lawn grasses. Its 45 pounds of weight hold it evenly on the ground so it doesn't bounce around on bumps and grooves in your yard the way lighter weight mowers will. Silent Cut mowers have a minimum contact cutting design that makes them extremely quiet. They are individually adjusted, lubricated, and sharpened before they are shipped directly from the Amish manufacturer, so all you have to do is unbox the mower and attach the handle with easy bolts. The frame is 12-gauge steel, and the flare grip handle is sturdier than handles on other mowers. The 21-inch cutting width is the widest on the market. The reel features six blades, and it can be adjusted to cut between 3/4 inch and 3 inches high. The wheels on this model are 10 inches and semi-pneumatic. This mower is priced at $289 in January 2010. An optional grass catcher bag is available for an additional $45.

Keywords: reel mower, reel lawnmower, American mower, Silent Cut mower, Scotts mower, classic lawnmower

About this Author

Fern Fischer writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art. She also covers topics of organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family. For over 35 years, her work has been published in print and online.